Friday, March 21, 2014

Song of the Week #290

On the front page of a major newspaper’s website this morning was the headline, “why cyclists and motorists hate each other so much”. What a load of bollocks. I would say load of sh*t but this is generally a family show. I’m a cyclist, and like most other cyclists I know, I’m a car driver as well. I don’t hate people in cars, in fact I don’t think I hate anyone. What I do dislike intensely is motorists and cyclists who are inconsiderate of each other. Drivers seem to moan a lot about cyclists running red lights. Of course no one in a car has ever done that have they? Yesterday I was out riding with one of my closest friends. As we waited to cross a set of lights another cyclist went straight through the red light. My friend gave her a loud reminder that she was being a loser. There is also a time and a place to ride on the road and, like it or not cycling Nazis, a time to ride backstreets or cycle paths. 5pm on a choked, busy main road is time to suck it up and ride somewhere else. You’ll never win in a collision with a car even if you do have the high moral ground. Finally huge thanks to DJ Ducky who is a driving instructor. She pointed out that if you’re in a car it is your responsibility to check outside before opening the door.

Weddings, Parties, Anything – Wide Open Road -

I’m a fairly serious cyclist in that I ride a lot of kilometres. Racing really isn't my thing at the moment, I just like the way I feel when I ride and as a result of it. Canberra is a fantastic place to get out on two wheels whatever level you are at. There’s flat loops around the lake, great hills out on the Cotter/Uriarra loop and a long hard ride out on the wide shoulder of the highway to Goulburn. We’re spoiled for choice. I like to commute mainly on bike paths because that’s where the cars aren't at busy times of day. Yesterday I was meandering through the ANU campus on the road when I noticed a big blue car coming towards me. I could almost see the driver’s head move in recognition of sighting me…and then his car crossed the centre line aimed straight at yours truly. Fortunately he missed me by a small margin and I’m still here typing but you have to wonder what moronic thought went through his one or two remaining brain cells as he pointed a ton of steel travelling about 50km/h at me and my 10kg bicycle.

Rollins Band - Stop, Look and Listen -

On Wednesday evening DJ Al-ee-Sun and I headed out to see Billy Bragg and his band at the Canberra Theatre. If you were reading this blog last time he was in town you’ll know that I was less than impressed at the gig that time. Thankfully my faith was restored on Wednesday as the show was top class. I do have a few minor quibbles about why we couldn't hear the other guitar player (who was excellent) in a lot of songs and also why Billy needed to change guitars almost every song but they are the equivalent of first world problems. The band was tight, the set list was great and Billy was in fine form.

Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute -

As you all know by now, Billy has done a lot of work with Woody Guthrie's lyrics and music. He told us that he's started playing this next tune again because it resonates so much with him regardless of what year it is. I was introduced to the tune via a tribute album and whilst I love Billy, I think Bruce has the song nailed...

Bruce Springsteen - I Ain't Got No Home -

I took delivery of two cheesy 80s heavy metal CDs today. Autograph's "Sign in Please" and Quiet Riot's "Metal Health". I plan to annoy all and sundry at some stage over the weekend with some fist pumping and headbanging. Neither are particularly serious purchases; it's hardly high art. But sometimes you just want to nod your head to a good tune without having to think too hard. I think it was AC/DC's Malcolm Young who said something along the lines of, "if you want to worry about the lyrics then listen to REM"!

REM - What's The Frequency, Kenneth? -

Scott Asheton,  the original drummer for The Stooges died during the week. His brother Ron who played guitar in the band passed away in 2009. I was a bit too young to appreciate the band until relatively recently. Their influence on rock music is undisputed and of course they launched the career of Iggy Pop.

Iggy & The Stooges - Loose (live 2003) -

Some albums are timeless. For me, one of those is "Xenophobia Why?" by Spy v Spy. Released in 1988 it has some classic songs on it. But what did, and continues to hook me with this LP is the guitar sounds - they are jangly without being harsh and driven without being fuzzy. The lyrics really do have something to say and really haven't dated at all. If you come along to the Oils shows in May you'll probably hear some Spies songs through the PA before the show.

Spy vs Spy - Clarity of Mind -

Spy vs Spy - Soldiers -

Billy Bragg had an Australian singer/songwriter called Courtney Barnett along as his support act. I was apprehensive after watching a few YouTube videos. She played solo which really leaves nowhere to hide! Courtney played scratchy, bluesy Telecaster guitar and the sound filled the room well - almost raspy but not quite. Her lyrics were often very personal and with an almost Dylan-esque delivery as well as having a sneaky sense of dry humour. Vocally she reminded me a bit of Neil Young as well in that you think she won't quite make a note but she gets there in the end. I thought she was pretty good really and if she'd played one or two more songs I wouldn't have complained. Try this one out...

Courtney Barnett - History Eraser -

Every now and then you need to listen to something a bit out of left field. Only people who've seen Billy Bragg on this tour will know why I've been playing this for the last couple of days and loving it!

Kraftwerk - Autobahn -

To close the show, here's a song I was reminded of this afternoon at a most inopportune moment. I was discussing something from my childhood and...ok, ok, it was the Famous Five books, how embarrassing! Anyway, this is a song we sang at school a fair bit in class. Great soaring melody and beautiful lyrics.

John Denver - Annie's Song -

That's all folks,

DJ Rob

"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me" - ABBA, Thank You For The Music, 1977

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